Listen Live

TAMPA, Fla. – Seven African penguins have died at The Florida Aquarium, officials at the downtown Tampa facility said Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

Necropsy results were inconclusive, aquarium officials said. The causes of death are “under examination,” WFLA reported.

“It is with heavy hearts that The Florida Aquarium announces the passing of seven of our African penguins,” officials said in a statement. “At this time the cause of death is unknown and under examination.”

It was the second recent instance of animal deaths in the Tampa area. In May, 12 stingrays at ZooTampa died after a “supersaturation” event that caused a fatal gas bubble disease in the animals’ touch tank.

>> Stingray deaths at ZooTampa blamed on ‘supersaturation’

The Florida Aquarium’s veterinary team is conducting further medical tests, WTVT reported.

The aquarium has cared for the colony of African penguins since 2006, according to WTSP.

The Florida Aquarium does not have a public habitat where guests can view the penguins, WFLA reported. Caretakers would bring one of the animals out into the aquarium daily to tell guests about the species and answer questions.

A penguin “backstage pass” tour, previously available for purchase, has been removed from the aquarium’s website, the television station reported.

“The Florida Aquarium will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to understand this tragic course of events,” Tim Binder, senior vice president of animal health and care, said in a statement.